Half a lifetime ago, a movie theater with eight or ten screens under one roof was an absolute overabundance of choice. Now however, everyone’s got 24 to 30 flicks to choose from, happily spending $15 or so dollars on a tent-pole movie ticket, a few more bucks for a popcorn and soda and then proceed to spend their time texting with a three-inch screen in their hands rather than watching the giant sliver one stretched out mere feet in front of them.
A place out of time, I happened to find myself at the B&B Theaters Windsor 10 last weekend, ready to settle in with a Saturday afternoon screening of Bohemian Rhapsody, but inadvertently falling back in total cinematic infatuation with that old movie-house once again. Located at 4023 NW 23rd Street, this is one of the very few remaining multiplexes—usually meaning ten screens or less—that hasn’t been turned into a filthy dollar movies yet.
To view a first run film here, in a dream palace such as this, is definitely an entertaining death rattle for the last true cinephiles in Oklahoma City, if there are any left. To take a vicious turn viewing celluloid in a theater that is stamped with the unchanging history of a long-gone era of the movie business is like watching reels just burn right in front of you…as perfect as this theater truly is, for me at least, I still had to sit back and ask myself how long can the Windsor 10 last in our current megaplex environment?
Hidden behind the Windsor Shopping Center, in the back corner far away from prying eyes, a visit starts with walking through the double-doors and following the confounding trail of velvet roped barriers to the concessions stand where you can buy your ticket and your eats all in one place. Sure, the matinee prices might be a tad higher than most—$8 sounds about right—but I’d much rather pay a couple of extra bucks than have to deal with the usual incessant gabbers behind me and glowing phone-screens in front.
There are all the usual cine-snacks to be had like fresh popcorn and soda pop, boxed candy and cheese nachos, myself opting for a medium Diet Coke—no upselling here, I guess. I took my drink and made my way past the cardboard cut-outs of Wonder Woman and Sheldon Cooper that have probably been on sale forever, it looks like.
Hauling up the small incline to the crowded theaters along the dark hallways, you might as well forget about stadium seating—the B&B proudly specializes in those low-backed high school auditorium chairs, barely rising an inch or two in front of the other. I remember we had these chairs at long-forgotten places like the old AMC Memorial Square 8 or the General Cinema Penn Square 10, always sticky with bubblegum from kids or slashed with knifes by teens. Quite honestly, I kind of missed them and, to this day, still prefer them quite a bit.
More than comfortable in my thin folding seat, it looked a lot like today’s movie would be a private screening—the luck of the draw, I guess. Still, it was a strange feeling to be in such solitude at a first-run presentation like this, the darkness enveloping your attention span, captivated not with teenagers playing grab-ass or random dudes that feel the need to provide a running commentary, but instead to concentrate and become immersed and, who knows, maybe enjoy a movie you actually paid for.
As the lights went dark step by step and the reel began its flickering journey through the projector, I realized just how much the B&B Theaters Windsor 10 is a very special thing from its own lost time in Oklahoma City, desperately clinging to the much-maligned past, one that people like me still hopefully hang on to as well, not afraid of the inevitable future as much as being simply annoyed by it. It’s a problem, which I admit, is all on me. Cómpralo ya!